University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E05926: Coptic document from Deir el-Bahari (Upper Egypt) offering details concerning the contract of a newly ordained deacon at the shrine of Apa *Viktor (presumably Viktor, son of Romanos, martyr in Egypt, S00749); datable around the year 600.

online resource
posted on 2018-07-09, 00:00 authored by gschenke
O.Crum 30

This Theban contract mentions the details to which the newly ordained deacon Papas at the shrine (topos) of Apa Viktor agrees. Papas acknowledges to bishop Apa Abraham of Hermonthis that he will follow all rules and regulations, that he will study and learn by heart the Gospel of John within two months, to fast for 40 days and to exercise sleep deprivation, as well as not to leave his post without permission.

⳨ ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲁⲡⲁⲥ ⲡⲇ̣ⲓ̣ⲁ̣(ⲕⲟⲛⲟⲥ)
ⲡϣⲏⲣⲉ ⲛⲁⲃⲣⲁϩⲁⲙ
ⲉϥⲥϩⲁⲓ ⲛⲡⲉⲛⲓⲱⲧ ⲉⲧ[ⲟⲩ]-
4 ⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲁⲃⲣⲁϩⲁⲙ ⲡⲉⲡⲓⲥ-
ⲕⲟⲡⲟⲥ ϫⲉ ⲉⲓⲡⲉⲓⲇⲏ ⲁⲓⲡⲁⲗ[ⲁ]-
ⲅⲁⲗⲉⲓ ⲛⲙⲟⲕ ⲁⲕⲭⲉ[ⲣⲟⲇ]ⲟⲛⲉⲓ ⲛ-
ⲙⲙⲟⲓ ⲛⲇⲓⲁⲕ(ⲟⲛⲟⲥ) ⲉⲡⲧⲟⲡⲟⲥ ⲛⲫⲁ-
8 ⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ ϯⲛⲟⲩ ϯⲟ ⲛ-
ϩⲁ̣ⲓⲧⲓⲙⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲣⲁϩⲁⲣⲉϩ ⲉⲛⲉⲛ-
ⲧⲟⲗⲏ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲕⲁⲛⲱⲛ
ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉⲡⲓⲥⲧⲏⲙⲏ
12 [ⲁⲩ]ⲱ ⲛⲧⲁϫⲉⲓ ⲡⲉⲩⲁⲛ-
[ⲅⲅ]ⲉⲗⲓⲟⲛ ⲛⲅⲁⲧⲁ ⲓⲱϩⲁⲛ-
ⲛⲏⲥ ⲛⲁⲡⲟⲥⲧⲏⲑⲟⲥ ⲛⲥⲛⲁⲩ
ⲛⲉⲃⲟⲧ ⲛⲧⲁⲉⲓ ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲛⲧⲁ̣-
16 ⲧ̣ⲁ̣ⲟⲟϥ̣ ⲉⲧⲟⲟⲧⲕ ⲛⲧⲁⲁⲙⲁϩ-
ⲧⲉ ⲛⲙⲟϥ ⲛⲧⲁⲣϩⲙⲉ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ
ϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲓⲣⲟⲉⲓⲥ ⲉⲡⲁⲙⲁ ⲛⲛⲕⲟ-
ⲧⲕ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲛⲥⲉⲛⲁⲅⲉ ⲉ̣ⲧ-
20 ⲧⲏϣ ⲉⲧⲣⲁϩⲁⲣⲉϩ ⲉⲣⲟⲟⲩ
ⲉⲡⲁⲙⲁ ⲛⲛⲕⲟⲧⲕ ⲁⲩⲱ ⲛⲛⲉⲓ-
ⲃⲱⲕ ⲉⲙⲁ ⲉϫⲛ ϣⲓⲛⲉ
ⲁⲛⲟⲕ ⲡⲁⲡⲁⲥ ⲡⲇⲓⲁ(ⲕⲟⲛⲟⲥ) ϯⲥⲧ-
24 ⲭⲉ̣ⲓ̣

“I, Papas, the deacon, the son of Abraham, write to our holy father Apa Abraham, the bishop: Since I have asked you, you have ordained me as deacon for the topos of saint Apa Viktor.
I am now ready to abide by the instructions, the rules and the regulations and to receive the Gospel according to John to learn it by heart, and to come forth in two months and to recite it to you and to keep hold of it. And (I am ready) to spend 40 days fasting and to spend 40 days keeping awake at my bedside, as well as to observe the appointed days for communion (keeping awake) at my bedside. I shall not go anywhere without asking (permission).
I, the deacon Papas, I assent.”

(Text: W. E. Crum; trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Viktor, son of Romanos, martyr in Egypt : S00749

Saint Name in Source

ⲁⲡⲁ ⲃⲓⲕⲧⲱⲣ

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Ostracon/Pot-sherd Documentary texts - Other private document


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Deir el-Bahari Hermonthis

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Deir el-Bahari Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis Hermonthis Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Church


The ostracon is kept at the British Museum in London, BM inv. 32830.


Text and translation: Crum, W.E., Coptic Ostraca from the Collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund (London, 1902), p. 8. = O.Crum German translation: W. C. Till, Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (Vienna, 1964), 41.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



    Ref. manager